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By JoAnna Ness, Mar 7 2019 06:35PM

Steuben County Community Foundation (SCCF) successfully completed Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Giving Indiana Funds for Tomorrow (GIFT) matching grant challenge. Thanks to generous donors who made gifts to SCCF’s unrestricted fund for grantmaking and responding to community needs, SCCF has received the full $500,000 matching grant from Lilly Endowment. With Lilly Endowment’s 2:1 match, SCCF has increased its current and future support for local nonprofits and community projects thanks to the almost $1 million of donations and grant dollars received since October 2018. Upon completion of the matching grant, SCCF will be moving on to the next phase of Lilly Endowment’s GIFT VII initiative. This will include a feasibility study to ensure future growth and success of SCCF’s supporting organization, Steuben County Fiber Network, as well as a number of local community conversations.

The Spirit of Community fund at SCCF helps a wide variety of causes in Steuben County. In 2018 alone, this fund helped improve the quality of early childcare providers, supported the restoration of local nature preserves, and helped dozens of nonprofits enhance their internal capacity to make a difference in the community. Completing this matching grant challenge means SCCF can continue to support nonprofits who provide crucial services to local residents and enhance quality of life, while also having the flexibility to respond to community needs that arise in the future.

“We are grateful for the support from Lilly Endowment Inc. and our local donors who are passionate about Steuben County and believe in SCCF’s mission. This is also a testament to the leadership of our board, including our outgoing board chair, Jim Burns, who has served SCCF for many years and has been instrumental to our growth,” shared Jennifer Danic, SCCF President and CEO.

“This matching grant will help move SCCF forward in grantmaking, and I look forward to seeing the next steps of SCCF as we work to meet the needs of Steuben County,” said Jim Burns, SCCF Board Chair.

Jim Burns has served on the SCCF board for more than nine years, and he will complete his term as Board Chair in June 2019. Jim also served on the Steuben County Fiber Network board and spent four years as the board chair. During this time, he led the rebranding from iMAN to the Steuben County Fiber Network and helped double its reach in the community. In his time with SCCF, the Community Foundation has successfully completed two GIFT matching grant initiatives, and assets available for community grantmaking have grown by more than half a million dollars.

By JoAnna Ness, Feb 19 2019 03:19PM

Animal populations can multiply surprisingly fast without intervention from organizations like Community Humane Shelter of Steuben County (CHS) dedicated to their care. When household pets can produce multiple litters per year with multiple offspring, the number of animals in a community can quickly outpace the number of people who are in a position to offer them a loving home. Add to this dilemma the health concerns for animals who haven’t been fixed, and it’s clear why CHS has kept busy for years.

By JoAnna Ness, Feb 14 2019 08:23PM

Braving snow and ice, SCCF welcomed 21 attendees for our Grant Proposal Writing Workshop on February 12, 2019, led by Dr. Kelly Trusty from Trine University. This “Grants 101” session shared tips about what grants are, who gives grants, and how to set yourself up for success. Dr. Trusty provided a number of resources, included key documentation to gather for a “grants binder,” how to use theory of change to write a strong grant proposal, and the importance of understanding that a grant is not just a bucket of money! Links to these resources and more are included on SCCF’s Nonprofit Resources page.

For questions about SCCF grants and to learn about using Foundation Directory, contact our office at 260-665-6656 or email Jacqui Gentile, Program Officer, at

By JoAnna Ness, Jan 21 2019 04:37PM

Visitors to a nature preserve can easily observe change as seasons pass and plants bloom or fade. ACRES Land Trust has taken the initiative to encourage visitors to think about a place’s history, beyond the seasonal changes. Founded in 1960, ACRES is Indiana’s oldest and largest local land trust. Its mission is to protect local land, including working land (i.e. farms), forests, wetlands, native grasslands, and habitat for rare, threatened and endangered species. ACRES acquired its first property in Steuben County in 1964, and today ACRES and its members protect more than 950 acres in Steuben County.

By JoAnna Ness, Jan 14 2019 04:00PM

Chuck Sheets, a founding board member, former grants committee member, and longtime champion of Steuben County Community Foundation, recently celebrated his 90th birthday. He hosted a party for family and friends at the SCCF office and asked for contributions to the Community Foundation in lieu of gifts.

We asked Chuck about his involvement with SCCF, and he shared, "When I had the opportunity to be part of the Community Foundation in the beginning, I was awed by the prospect of what this could become. It amazes me now how well the community has supported it, beyond anything we could have imagined. Seeing the people who showed up to my birthday celebration and the gifts they made, it's obvious the Community Foundation has become important to this community. I truly love this community and everything it has to offer."